Emergency service at your farm
is available 24/7 within
our practice area.
We understand that unexpected problems can occur at any time and therefore we offer emergency service 27 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have an emergency, please call (760) 728-2319.
Reminder: Help us help you!
Our goal is to respond to your emergency as quickly as possible. In order to accomplish this we must be able to contact you when we return your call.
*Call the veterinary emergency line while you are near your horse; he/she will likely have more questions for you.
*Keep your phone close by after you have the veterinarians paged.
Heart Rate: 24-44 beats/min (influenced by anxiety/exercise)
Respiration Rate: 8-18 breaths/min (influenced by anxiety/exercise/outside temperature)
Recognizing Signs of Distress
When a horse is cut or bleeding, it’s obvious that there is a problem. But in cases of colic, illness, or a more subtle injury, it may not be as apparent. That’s why it’s important to know your horse’s normal vital signs, including temperature, pulse and respiration (TPR), as well as its normal behavior patterns. You must be a good observer so that you readily recognize signs of ill health.
There will be variations in individual temperature, pulse and respiration values. Take several baseline measurements when the horse is healthy, rested, and relaxed. Write them down and keep them within easy reach, perhaps with your first aid kit, so you have them to compare to in case of an emergency.
Other observations you should note:
- Skin pliability is tested by pinching or folding a flap of neck skin and releasing. It should immediately snap back into place.
- Failure to do so is evidence of dehydration.
- Color of the mucous membranes of gums, nostrils, conjunctiva (inner eye tissue), and inner lips of vulva should be pink. Bright red, pale pink to white, or bluish-purple coloring may indicate problems.
- Color, consistency, and volume of feces and urine should be typical of that individual’s usual excretions. Straining or failure to excrete should be noted.
- Signs of distress, anxiety or discomfort.
- Lethargy, depression or a horse that’s “off-feed.”
- Presence or absence of gut sounds.
- Evidence of lameness such as head-bobbing, reluctance to move, odd stance, pain, unwillingness to rise.
- Bleeding, swelling, evidence of pain.
- Seizures, paralysis, or “tying up” (form of muscle cramps that ranges in severity from mild stiffness to life-threatening illness).
No matter what emergency you may face in the future, mentally rehearse what steps you will take to avoid letting panic take control. Here are some guidelines to help you prepare:
- Keep our number (or your regular vet’s number) by each phone or on the barn information board. Also put the information on your horse’s stall
- If you are in a barn, make sure all of your contact numbers are posted and up to date.
- Know in advance the most direct route to an equine surgery center in case you need to transport the horse.
- Post the names and phone numbers of nearby friends and neighbors who can assist you in an emergency while you wait for the veterinarian.
- Prepare a first aid kit and store it in a clean, dry, readily accessible place. Make sure that family members and other barn users know where the kit is.